European Russian Forum



Brussels, December 8, 2008




The Forum took place in the building of the Eurooean Parliament with the participation of high ranking Russian and EU representatives and aimed to examine the present situation and the potential of future cooperation between the two realities. It was structured into two plenary sessions and two modular sections.

While all the reporters considered desirable good and fruitful relations between the EU and the Russian Federation, not all the political analysis were smooth, often affected by the position of EU and single European countries on the events in South Ossetia.

The EJ President Paolo Magagnotti was invited to make a presentation on the press relation between the two parts.

His position was presented in several points as follows: 


  • Historical and present reasons and the urgent need of peace keeping and of promoting socio-economic development for the future good relationships between the Russian Federation and the European Union are not simply an option but a necessity, a MUST.
  • Such good relationships are required not only for interests of the parties involved, but also because they are a major contribution to stability and democracy worldwide.
  • It goes without saying that we need to be aware of the different historical developments which have taken place in the last century in the former Soviet Union and in the European area, where the political process of the European Integration Process has been developing.
  • Different histories, different political systems, even if underlain by common values, mainly cultural ones, have linked and still unite today’s Russian Federation and the EU’s member states.
  • As an Italian, I take into account our presence of art in San Petersburg and in other Russian realities.
  • Talking about information I can see the pressing necessity of considering first of all the need of guaranteeing the basic value that must be a common denominator for every body: human rights and democracy.
  • Democracy also means the citizens’ participation. A very old assumption states that information is the precondition of participation. Therefore, the citizens must be informed.
  • To perform a useful and good information we need, among others, two basic preconditions:

-freedom of press, which is also related to the observance of human rights;

-access to the information sources.

  • Where does the responsibility of guaranteeing freedom of the press lie?

·         First of all in the public institutions, which must promote the common good.

·         In this respect, we need appropriate laws and governments applying them in a correct and

sound manner.

·         If a journalist can’t work in a context of freedom of the press, he/she can’t be of good

service for the democratic development of a country.

Journalists must have the right to criticize political powers, and political powers must have the right to criticize what journalists write or broadcast.

·         Yet journalists, whatever their opinion is, and whatever they write, must be respected and

have the right to live in peace.

·         Of course journalist must observe an ethic code and not use their power – because journalism    is powerful too – in order to destroy or to promote Institutions and person as they like.

·         At the moment there is a quite diffuse conviction among  journalists in the EU’s area – and

not always without reasons - that in the Russian Federation Public Institutions don’t guarantee, as they should, freedom of press.

·         Even in the European Union we have countries whose governments are more pro Moscow than others: this situation sometimes reflects also on the journalists’ attitude.

·         The Energy dependency from the Russian federation can also have some impact in the attitude of the press.

·         Anyway, I think that on this occasion we should be constructive.

·         It is my opinion and desire and the opinion and desire of my association – that we need to work in order to create conditions so that both the media, and the journalists can provide a positive contribution for enhancing fruitful relations between the Russian Federation and the European Union.

·         At the moment there is, I think, a kind of climate of mutual mistrust, if not suspicion, between the two parts.

·         Mistrust and suspicion are two products that poison the relationships and prevent mutual understanding and friendly attitude.

·         In such a situation it is first of all necessary to throw down the barrier of mistrust and to create a climate of mutual confidence and understanding.

·         Between the Russian and EU’s journalists we need to better know und understand one another.

·         The Forum of the Journalists of the Mediterranean and the Golf showed this as an urgent need and goal:  of better mutual knowing and understanding.

·         It is for this reason that I propose here the establishment of a permanent Forum of Russian and EU’s Journalists, in the forma to be jointly decided.

·         The EJ is available to give its contribution to concretize the idea.